The suspended chairman of the Special Investigation Panel for the Recovery of Public Property (SPIP), Okoi Obono-Obla, has reportedly fled to the United Kingdom amid investigation of fraud in his activities by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).
The commission had on Tuesday declared Mr Obono-Obla wanted for repeatedly failing to appear before it to answer questions bordering on allegations of fraud and corruption.
Reports say Obono-Obla left the country on August 17, two days after the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) formally announced his suspension and asked him to handover to the solicitor-general in the Federal Ministry of Justice.
ICPC made a report indicting Obono-Obla for certificate forgery with which he procured a law degree at the University of Jos before moving to the Nigerian Law School to qualify as a lawyer.
The ICPC, however, said members of the public made allegations against him such as abuse of office, falsification of admission records, living above his income, and collection of gratification from suspects.
“The suspended chairman is also facing allegations of working outside the guidelines governing the panel by investigating unauthorised petitions and prosecuting suspects without recourse to the office of the Attorney General of the Federation.
“ICPC had conducted series of investigations on the allegations with preliminary findings showing that some provisions of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000 and extant laws of Nigeria had been allegedly violated by Mr. Obono-Obla.
“Consequently, ICPC had extended several invitations to him, which he had failed to honour without giving any reason. Attempts to track and make him appear before the Commission also failed leading ICPC to contact other law enforcement agencies for assistance concerning his whereabouts.
“One of such contact has yielded results as records from the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) show that Mr. Obono-Obla had travelled out of the country.
“The NIS records revealed that he left the country to an undisclosed location on 17th August 2019, through the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja, and has not returned two months after,” the commission said.
It is not known if Interpol has been alerted for Obono-Obla’s arrest.